Gonna be honest with you guys. I forgot this episode. I spent like the entire episode trying to remember what was going to happen. And really…it was kind of a weak episode. They won’t all be winners, just like I’m sure in the later seasons, they won’t all be bad. There’s going to be ebbs and flows in this show. But still, there’s some great stuff in this one, even if the sum of their parts didn’t really work for me. I love that when they talk about their previous field trip to a prison, Bart responds with “I didn’t unlock that door.” That’s a great joke. I also loved the fact that Otto apparently woke up that morning with a new tattoo that he didn’t realize he had. I love Otto, but this episode had me thinking about something I’d never really thought about. How old is Otto supposed to be? I had always assumed that he was supposed to be like, a weird thirty year old loser, but I’m not sure if that’s really right.
Anyway, I was surprising to get a weird memory flash from this episode in regards to poor old Wendell. I definitely threw up on a bus headed to a field trip, and I know that pain. Poor guy. Even though “being sick” is basically Wendell’s only character trait. We then get to the Power Plant, and the weirdness of the off-model Smithers. Is he black? I don’t remember if he’s like this any other episodes this season…but it was a little strange.
Then we get one of my favorite things the Simpsons do. Weird old instructional videos! As a fan of the weird stuff they play in front of movies at the Alamo Drafthouse, or the subreddit “Obscure Media” I love these type of weird educational videos. I miss Smilin’ Joe Fission. He was a funny little mascot. It was also the basic way that I describe how nuclear power works to this day. Then the kids start taking a tour, and we get our first look at Blinky the three eyed fish. I feel like he’s not around anymore. Then Homer tries to look cool in front of the kids, crashes a little cart and gets fired. For the first time. I think I’m going to keep a tally of the number of times that Homer gets fired from the Plant. I’m guessing at least once a season.
We then get our first Moe prank call. I.P. Freely. Classic. The episode then gets kind of dark. The whole depressed unemployed Homer story line was really bleak. My dad had a period of unemployment when I was a kid, and it was never as bleak as Homer’s but it’s still a little bothersome to watch. Although I did love the joke that Duff apparently markets directly to sad unemployed people, which really made me laugh. I’m amazed that Budweiser doesn’t do that, at least that opaque. But it does lead to a super dark moment with Homer steals Bart’s piggy bank to steal his money for beer. The joke of Homer trying to figure out if it was enough to steal before he actually tries to take it is funny, but it’s still a weird scene. And it gets weirder! Home then decides that since he can’t provide for the family, he should just kill himself. I do love that he signed the suicide note with “warmest regards.” He then just walked to a bridge with a boulder tied to him, all set to straight up kill himself. They try to add some wacky stuff like Homer oiling the gate’s hinges and the old neighbors being glad that he’s killing himself, but it’s still a strange scene.
The episode then takes a weird turn, and just becomes about Homer going on a crusade to make the city safer. Just putting up stop signs. I really didn’t remember this plot. He then just goes to the Power Plant to protest their safety record, and Burns offers him a job. I guess this is how he becomes the safety inspector, but it’s weird that they start his job by showing how passionate he was about the subject, then just showing him as incompetent the rest of the series. Although I do love that Homer kind of cons Burns into getting the job, by implying that if he was busy working, he wouldn’t have time to protest anymore. And that’s the end.
Huh, I guess I’ll have to get used to talking about episodes that didn’t really do it for me, and I guess this is a good place to start. But I think the most important take away from this episode is that even if there’s ones that I don’t like, there’s still parts that make me laugh. No episode will be all bad, there’s still going to be glimmers of funny in them.
Take Away: Well, I suppose the take away could be that not everything is going to be great? Nah, that’s a little meta. How about we go with a line Homer has, that alcohol is a temporary solution to a serious problem? Too bleak? I guess the main thing I learned from this one is that being unemployed is a real bummer.
“Homer’s Odyssey” was written by Jay Kogen and Wallace Wolodarsky and directed by Wes Archer.
Categories: Lifetime of Simpsons